Cybill Shepherd


  1. Diane Keaton, The Godfather, 1971.
  2. Margaret Markov, Pretty Maids All in a Row, 1971.    Cyb passed on what wouild have been her movie debut – that proved to be The Last Picture Show., 1970 Her director, future lover ajnd husband, Peter Bogdanovich, had seen a silent  Maids  test made by French film-maker Roger Vadim. Stockton’s gorgeous Markov, rather a  Cyb clone, won Polly – and Vadim, for a spell.  She quit after seven TV movies and seven TV bits and married Mark Damon, producer of the first of her two cult movies with Pam Grier: The Arena, 1973.
  3. Ali MacGraw, The Getaway, 1972.    When director Peter Bogdanovich (and his lady, Cybill Shepherd) fell out of the mix, Sam Peckinpah moved in and wanted his Cable Hoguestar Stella Stevens, Angie Dickinson or Dyan Cannon as Steve McQueen’s missus. Except Paramount boss Robert Evans wanted a change of image for his missus.  “I can see it now – McQueen & MacGraw.” Huge mistake. Ali ran off with her Steve.  Huge mistake. Ali ran off with co-star Steve. McQueen  & McQueen!   They were wed during 1973-1978.
  4. Cindy Williams, Travels With My Aunt, 1972.      The aunty into various shady dealings was Maggie Smith.
  5. Kay Lenz, Breezy, 1972.         For William Holden’s perfect mistress -young, sassy, sexy – third time director Clint Eastwood chose Kay over Cybill, Jo Ann Harris, Lauren Hutton, Tuesday Weld and Deborah Winters. Kay was then sought for and spurned almost everything – The Accused, Fatal Attraction, Hannah And Her Sisters, Once Upon A Time in America, The Terminator, Thelma and Louise – and, therefore, never reached the stardom she deserved.
  6. Mia Farrow, The Great Gatsby, 1973.      Folllowing the lead of both Tuesday Weld and Natalie Wood, Cybill refused any screen test for Daisy Buchanan. (Lois won the other girl, Jordan Baker).
  7. Jane Hitchcock, Nickelodeon, 1976.       Once again, director Peter Bogdanovich wrote it for his lady. Columbia production chief   David Begeleman refused to let him make it with her. “There was a kinda mood in town,”   said Bogdanovich, “critics reviewed our relationship more than our films.” The sheen was going off the affair – and off Bogdanovich, himself. While he made his nothing film, she answered Martin Scorsese’s call for “a Cybill Shepherd-type actress” for Taxi Driver.
  8. Ingrid Boulting, The Last Tycoon, 1976.      “I went and read for [director] Elia Kazan. Remember the girl who played the part? No? Well, you would have remembered me.”
  9. Sissy Spacek, Carrie, 1976.  
  10.  Carrie Fisher, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, 1976.
  11. Lois Chiles, Murder On The Nile, 1977.  Or deaths… Four murders in all.  Cybil passwd Linnet Ridgeway to Lois in the film of Agatha Christie’s 16thn novel featuring the fastidious Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot. – played by Peter Ustinov in the first of his six Poirot whodunnits.

  12. Susan Sarandon, Pretty Baby, 1977.      
    The plot sickens…  A prostitute allows her 12-year-old  daughter’s virginity to be auctioned off in a brothel in the red-light Storyville district of  New Orleans, circa 1917. Elegant French director Louis Malle saw 29 possible pretty Violets – and another 19 actresses for her mother: Candice Bergen, Cher, Julie Christie, Glenn Close (passed), Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett (passed), Jane Fonda (with Jodie Foster as her daughter), Goldie Hawn (preferred Foul Play), Anjelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Sylvia Kristel (Emmanuelle, herself),  Liza Minnelli, Cybil Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Sigourney Weaver. Plus Joan Collins, who suggested Jasmine Maimone,  her screen daughter in that year’s Magnum Cop,  would  make a fine Violet. Louis  Malle and Sarandon became lovers and also made Atlantic City,1980… the year he married Bergen until his 1995 death.

  13. Liza Minnelli, Arthur, 1980.      Brand new auteur Steve Gordon knew exactly who was perfect. Dudley Moore as the titular rich drunk man-child and Minnelli as his lady. Orion Pictures also considered Shepherd, Mia Farrow, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Goldie Hawn, Barbara Hershey, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange, Kay Lenz (1972’s Breezy, already looking for a comeback), Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Susan Sarandon, … and even Meryl Streep, Debra Winger. Gordon made a big hit, but never a second film – he died at 44 in 1982.
  14. Catherine Hicks, Death Valley, 1981.     No way Shepherd could manage two gigs at once and so Hicks became Sally, the single mom meeting in Death Valley, of all places, a serial killer.  I mean, what are the chances?

  15. Jessica Lange, Frances,1982.      
    Howard Hawks  said  she always seemed to be shining. “More talent than anyone I ever worked with.” She and Vivien Leigh were beaten by Ingrid Bergman to For Whom The Bell Tolls, 1942. She’s the subject of various books, plays (viz Sally Clarke’s Saint Frances of Hollywood),  pop and rock songs  – French-Canadian singer Mylène Farmer even took her name. All actresses loved her talent and guts (when wrongfully committed to asylums by her parents) and  wanted to ply…  Frances Farmer.  From the sublime to the ridiculous: Meryl Streep to Susan Dey  of TV’s Partridge Family. Kim Basinger tested with Sam Shepard (Lange’s husband). Undaunted Susan Blakely made her own 1983  TVersion (from Farmer’s book, Will There Really Be A Morning?). Plus Anne Archer, Blythe Danner, Patty Duke, Mia Farrow, Sally Field, Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Glenda Jackson, Diane Keaton, Liza Minnelli, Katharine Ross, Susan Sarandon, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Tuesday Weld, Natalie Wood. Plus Constance Money, who met  with  producer  Mel Brooks and debuting director Graeme Clifford. They liked her. Not her CV. Seven porno films in three years.  Even if they used her real name (Sue Jensen), someone would have blown an expensive whistle about her hardcore career.

  16. Elizabeth McGovern, Once Upon a Time in America, 1982.   Italian maestro Sergio Leoneclaimed he interviewed “over 3,000 actors,” taping 500 auditions for the 110 speaking roles in his New York gangster epic.  He certainly saw 33 girls for nymphet Deborah Gelly: Shepherd, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Jennifer Beals, Linda Blair, Glenn Close, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Farrah Fawcett, Carrie Fisher, Bridget Fonda, Jodie Foster, Melanie Griffith, Linda Hamilton, Daryl Hannah, Goldie Hawn, Mariel Hemingway, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Heather Locklear, Kristy McNIchol, Liza Minnelli, Tatum O’Neal, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Sissy Spacek, Meryl Streep, Kathleen Turner, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger. Plus Brooke Shields as the younger version. Deborah was 15 in the first script; McGovern was 20.

  17. Linda Hamilton, The Terminator, 1983.
    In all, 55 actresses were considered, seen or tested for Sarah Connor (aged 18; Linda was 27) opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger. Auteur James Cameron created Sarah for Bridget Fonda. She passed; so did Tatum O’Neal. He decided to go older… and Glenn Close won – her schedule didn’t agree. OK, Kate Capshaw! No, she was tied to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – and Kathleen Turner was Romancing The Stone. Debra Winger won her audition, said yes… then no.   The other 48 ladies were The ’80s Group: Shepherd, Rosanna Arquette, Kim Basinger, Christy Brinkley, Colleen Camp, Jamie Lee Curtis, Geena Davis, Judy Davis, Mia Farrow, Carrie Fisher, Jodie Foster, Teri Garr, Jennifer Grey, Melanie Griffith, Darryl Hannah, Barbara Hershey, Anjelica Huston, Amy Irving, Diane Keaton, Margot Kidder, Diane Lane, Jessica Lange, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kay Lenz, Heather Locklear, Lori Loughlin, Kelly McGillis, Kristy McNichol, Michelle Pfeiffer, Deborah Raffin, Meg Ryan, Susan Sarandon, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Sissy Spacek, Sharon Stone, Lea Thompson, Sigourney Weaver… one aerobics queen, Bess Motta (she became Sarah’s room-mate, Ginger Ventura), two singers (Madonna, Liza Minnelli), two Brits (Miranda Richardson, Jane Seymour), five essentially funny girls, Goldie Hawn, Rhea Perlman (Mrs Danny De Vito), Gilda Radner, Mary Tyler Moore… plus the new MTM, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, from Saturday Night Live. Most were in contention again a few years later for Fatal Attraction (won by Close) and The Accused (going to Foster and McGillis). Ten years later (after T2), Linda gave birth to Cameron’s daughter and Josephine’s parents wed in 1997… for two years.

  18. Isabella Rossellini, Blue Velvet,1985.  The legend varies…  1.  Auteur David Lynch’s first choice for Dorothy Valens was the German star Hanna Schyguylla.  2. Lynch wrote Dorothy for Harry but she‘d had enough of weirdoes. 3. He moved on to Karen Allen, Rebecca De Mornay, Jodie Foster, Debbie Harry, Helen Hunt, Angelica Huston, Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren, Cybill Shepherd, Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver, Debra Winger – most found Dorothy’s script way too erotic.  4.Lynch then met Isa in a NYC restaurant and fell head over clapperboard in love.  Literally.
  19. Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction, 1987.
  20. Angelica Huston, Gardens of Stone, 1987.    “It’s a compliment that I was up for the same part as she.” Huston had a new Oscar, while Shepherd had a mere Golden Globe for  Moonlighting on TV.

  21. Susan Sarandon, Bull Durham, 1987.   Ron Shelton had one helluva job trying to win backing for his directing debut. “Baseball movies don’t sell.”  His producer Thom Mount was part-owner of the real Durham Bulls squad. He recognised what Roger Ebert would call “a treasure because it knows so much about baseball and so little about love.” Kim Basinger was Shelton’s first choice for Annie (an Annie is s baseball groupie). “There’s never been a ballplayer slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career.”  He tested Carrie Fisher, Mary Steenburgen, Pamela Stephenson, Debra Winger… considered Kate Capshaw, Geena Davis (who made the female ball movie, A League of Their Own), Michelle Pfeiffer (too young) and Isabella Rossellini… felt  Kay Lenz and Michelle Pfeiffer were too young… while Glenn Close was having Dangerous Liaisons in France, Melanie Griffith was a busy Working Girl and Kelly McGillis preferred The Accused. He also thought of Cybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis as The Couple but Moonlighting got in the way. And that’s how the splendid Susan Sarandon met Tim Robbins and   lived together for 21 years.

  22. Kelly McGillis, The Accused, 1988.      Paramount suits saw 40 young actresses for the (real life) gang rape victim – or for their own rape bait fantasies… such as 16-year-old Alyssa Milano!  And a further 28 for her defence attorney. Including the Fatal Attraction also-rans (from Cybill to Debra Winger, by way of Diane Keaton and, naturally, Meryl Streep). Plus Blythe Danner, Sally Field, Terri Garr,Mary Gross, Dianne Wiest.  A 1982 rape victim herself, McGillis refused Jodie Foster’s Oscar-winning role, and asked to play her lawyer.
  23. Kim Basinger, My Stepmother Is An Alien, 1988.      One critic called Cybill “a no-talent dame with nice boobs and a toothpaste smile and all the star quality   of a dead hamster.”
  24. Diane Lane, Lonesome Dove, TV, 1989.  Like director John Carpenter, Peter Bogdanovich dreamt of combining John Wayne, James Stewart and Henry Fonda  in one last Western saga.  With Cyb as their leading lady. He got The Last Picture Show author Larry McMurtry to write it in 1972: Streets of Laredo. “Waall, I felt like we were being kinda lampooned,” said Stewart  That sounded more like a malicious (jealous?) John Ford, who more or less ordered Duke off it.  And the others meekly followed… McMurtry turned the scenario into a growth industry: a supreme novel, a Pulitzer Prize, this glorious, seven-Emmy award-winning mini-series, one sequel and two prequels.  And yet Jim stupidly said: “WIf he’d come up with a better script, we could have done something.” Yeah, like Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones did…!. “In my head,” said Bogdanovich, “Jimmy and Duke had to be better.”  Hardly.
  25. Geena Davis, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  26. Sissy Spacek, JFK, 1991.
  27. Sharon Stone, Basic Instinct,1991.
  28. Melanie Griffith, Lolita, 1997.   Griffith had something that her rivals, Shepherd and Dianne Wiest did not. Knowledge of the director. She had twice tested for Adrian Lyne – losing both Flashdance and Fatal Attraction. This time he didn’t waste their tyime on an auditioning –  he simply made her  Lolita Haze’s Mom.
  29. Jennifer Aniston, She’s Funny That Way, 2013.  Or Squirrels to the Nuts (a Lubitsch line from Cluny Brown, 1945) when director Peter Bogdanovich was due to helm it with Tatum O’Neal (“This movie is my gift to her”) and John Ritter But everything fell apart after Ritter’s sudden death in 2003.   Bogdanovich also gave roles in that first version to Shepherd, his Last Picture Show find and 1971-1978 lover, plus Louise Stratten, his co-scenarist and 1988-2001 wife.




 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  29